Ambedkar did not get to publish in his lifetime. As I began the process of selecting and annotating Riddles, the book itself posed a major riddle. While the first and second editions of an iconic work like Annihilation of Caste , that Ambedkar oversaw to the last detail could be traced, we had no choice but to base our edition of Riddles on the version that appears in Vol. Once he resigned, Ambedkar did not have any official secretarial staff to help him.

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Shelves: non-fiction , philosophy , political The only works more retconned than Star Wars by Lucas are the sacred books of Hinduism. Thousands of generations of Brahmins have manipulated and modified, many cynically and some with noble intentions, the Vedas, smritis, shrutis, sutras, puranas, epics, brahmanas, etc.

Thence the riddles. To be sure, the riddles as a work was unfinished and uncompiled by the time of his death. The riddles were selected probably for their importance to counter the current Hindutva narrative in India. They all challenge some of the most deeply held beliefs of Hindus, although some more successfully than others.

Further riddles question the institutions of ahimsa, varnashrama, the yugas, and Rama and Krishna, from religious, social, and political perspectives. The specific riddles on varnashrama are most informatory while the ones on Rama and Krishna seem incomplete and inaccurate in places. The first problem is that they are too numerous.

They ruin the flow. No text needs annotations in every page, especially that of a writer as lucid as Dr. Secondly, they are sometimes redundant or unnecessary. If Dr. I would Google if I felt the need to check them out. Buy partly due to fate and partly due to supreme negligence and barbarity of Indian government, we only have a partial work. R Ambedkar is a scathing remark on the well-established tenets of Hinduism.

The introduction by Kancha Ilaiah sets a good base for the book. He also talks about the current context and how ironical it is for the right to appropriate Ambedkar as a Hindu figure despite his hatred for Hinduism. Ambedkar has delved upon various aspects of Hinduism. The first riddle digs into the question Riddles in Hinduism by B. The first riddle digs into the question of who is a Hindu? Ambedkar says that there is no definite answer for that owing to the diversity in thoughts and practices among Hindus.

He also looks into the characterisation of Rama and Krishna in the popular narrative and questions the sanctity of their actions. In this riddle, he explains how different scriptures suggest a different origin of the caste system. There is no coherence among Vedas and Shashtras. He raises right questions and views them with an objective lens. He has deeply researched all the scriptures and dissected them for us to see their internal contradictions.

He makes you question your own deep-rooted prejudices which were fed to you by the popular narrative. No wonder when Maharashtra Government printed this book, Shiv Sena sought a ban.

In a nutshell, if you have to read one book this year, it ought to be this one. Starts as a breezy read but gets dense post half-way when Ambedkar heavily starts quoting the religious texts which mostly seem like a neurotic rant. Thank god, this is a selection of riddles from the original manuscript.

Reading through all the riddles might have been a daunting task. Rama and Krishna are both laughable by the end. He leaves you feeling that Hinduism is at best a confused mess concocted by Brahmins to retain power.

Strongly makes you question what is this sanatan or eternal Hinduism that both the agents of Hindutva or well-intentioned Tharoors of the world are talking about. Their Hinduism is nothing but an idealized and sanitized version meant to breathe life into a dying and rotten religion. Hinduism at its heart is divisive and quite unsuitable for a democratic society. Ambedkar leaves out any discussion on the mystical and spiritual elements which does seem like he threw the baby out with the bathwater.

None of the positive aspects of Hinduism like its plurality or its unique knowledge such as Yoga and Ayurveda find any praise or mention, which is the only think I dislike about the book.

Yes, our myths have some deep wisdom to imbibe which definitely will stay alive in the works of Devdutt Pattanaik and many more, but I feel a little stupid and naive because I was seeing only half the picture till now.


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